The Top Ten Most Famous Cleaning Scenes In Movies And TV Series

updated: 24/12/2023

A paper cup of popcorn in a movie complex

Cleaning Has Been Featured in Many Films

From bloody messes to meticulous clean-ups, Hollywood has mastered the art of turning mundane chores into iconic moments on screen. We’ve all seen characters face messes requiring more than just a simple wipe-down. Whether it’s hitmen dealing with unexpected accidents or janitors showcasing their genius amidst the mops and brooms, these scenes have etched themselves into cinematic history. Let’s take a thrilling dive into the top 10 most famous cleaning scenes in movies and TV series that have left audiences cringing and laughing.

Brace yourself for laughter, tension, and the unexpected as we revisit these unforgettable moments where house cleaning took the spotlight and transformed into a spectacle of humour, stress, and narrative depth. Get ready to scrub away the ordinary and plunge into a world where tidying up is thrilling. From crime dramas to comedies and psychological thrillers, these scenes prove that sometimes, the messiest moments make for the most memorable.

10. The Queen’s Gambit (TV Mini-Series, 2020)

Directed by Scott Frank, the series stars Anya Taylor-Joy as Beth Harmon, a chess prodigy struggling with addiction. The show quickly became fans’ favourite, receiving critical acclaim and becoming a cultural phenomenon.

Picture a chess prodigy finding solace in cleaning her chessboard. It’s a quiet, ritualistic moment amid the chaos of her life. Who knew cleaning chess pieces could be so meditative? Checkmate for cleanliness!

9. Marie Kondo: Tidying Up (TV Series, 2019)

Marie Kondo’s show, based on her best-selling book, follows her unique approach to decluttering and organising. Her method’s widespread popularity made her a household name, influencing a global shift toward minimalistic living.

Rightfully dubbed “the queen of decluttering”, Marie can fold clothes like they’re going to a fashion show. Her serene yet effective approach to organising homes is like a spa day for your living space. Suddenly, everyone’s asking their belongings if they “spark joy.”

8. The Help (2011)

Directed by Tate Taylor, this drama portrays the lives of African American maids in the racially charged 1960s. Minny’s memorable pie-making scene added depth to the film’s social commentary and earned critical acclaim.

Our favourite sassy maid cooks up a pie with an unexpected ingredient as payback for her racist employer. It’s cleaning up with style and a hint of rebellion. You can’t help but cheer for her as she takes a stand, one pie at a time.

7. American Psycho (2000)

Directed by Mary Harron, this psychological thriller adapts Bret Easton Ellis’s novel, featuring Christian Bale as Patrick Bateman, a wealthy investment banker with a dark side. The meticulous clean-up routine highlights the film’s satirical take on consumerism and violence, becoming a cult favourite.

The famous post-murder cleaning scene is like a twisted version of a Martha Stewart how-to guide. Plastic covers, meticulous methods—it’s cleaning with a side of psychopathic tendencies. Who knew murder could be so neat and tidy?

6. Bridesmaids (2011)

Directed by Paul Feig, this comedy features Kristen Wiig as Annie, whose misadventures lead to chaos, especially in a bridal shop. The scene’s hilarity earned the film praise and established it as a standout in the comedy genre.

Picture this: food poisoning strikes Annie while trying on wedding dresses. Cue a frantic cleanup attempt in the most embarrassing yet hilarious situation. It’s a blend of chaos and comedy that hits home for anyone who’s had a “cleaning emergency” in a public place.

5. Good Will Hunting (1997)

Directed by Gus Van Sant, the iconic drama jump-started the illustrious Hollywood careers of Matt Damon and Ben Affleck. The movie earned widespread critical acclaim and an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay for our favourite Boston Boys.

Will Hunting, the janitor with a mind sharper than a brand-new set of pencils, solves complex Math problems on a chalkboard while mopping floors. It’s the ultimate showcase of brains over brooms. Who says janitors can’t solve quadratic equations?

4. The Shining (1980)

Directed by Stanley Kubrick, this horror masterpiece follows Jack Torrance as he descends into madness while care taking an isolated hotel. The eerie cleaning scenes contribute to the film’s haunting atmosphere, solidifying its place in horror movie history.

Our friendly neighbourhood caretaker navigates the eerily empty and haunted corridors of the Overlook Hotel, attempting to keep it spick and span. Who knew cleaning could be this creepy? It’s not just dust he’s dealing with; it’s ghosts and madness!

3. Sunset Boulevard (1950)

Directed by Billy Wilder, this noir film delves into the life of a faded silent film star, Norma Desmond. Considered one of the best examples of the genre, the film earned multiple Academy Awards and secured its status as a cinematic masterpiece.

Enter the grand but decaying mansion of Norma Desmond, where her faithful butler, Max, is practically married to a feather duster. This scene is less about cleaning and more about the psychological drama, showcasing Max’s dedication to preserving a past era. Talk about dusting off some serious old memories!

2. Breaking Bad (TV Series, 2008-2013)

Created by Vince Gilligan, this critically acclaimed series chronicles the transformation of Walter White from a high school chemistry teacher to a methamphetamine manufacturer. One of the highest-rated TV Series of all time, the show’s gritty realism earned numerous awards for its writing and performances.

Jesse, the lovable but sometimes clueless partner-in-crime to Walter White, faces a ‘chemical’ disaster when a body starts dissolving in a bathtub. The meticulous clean-up job showcases the not-so-glamorous side of their illegal ventures. Trust Jesse to turn a normal bathtub into a mini science lab disaster!

1. Pulp Fiction (1994)

Directed by Quentin Tarantino, this cult classic follows hitmen Vincent Vega and Jules Winnfield through a series of interconnected crime stories. It also delivers some of the most memorable quotes and scenes in recent movie history, spiralling between the absurd, dark, and hilarious.

After an accidental shooting in a car, the unfortunate hitmen (portrayed unforgettably by John Travolta and Samuel Jackson) must hastily clean up the gory mess in this iconic, darkly humorous scene. It’s notable for its tension, dialogue, and unexpected humour amidst a gruesome task.

About the author 

Nick Vassilev

Nick blogs about cleaning. He is a cleaning expert with more than 25 years of experience. He is also an NCCA-certified carpet cleaner. Founder and CEO of Anyclean.